Converting your old prints into digital ones is not a new idea. It’s done in various ways where some are difficult to perform to get quality digital photos, there are quick ways too to get pretty bad results. Google’s new app PhotoScan is supposed to do both ‘easy’ and ‘get quality photos’ by working with algorithmic scan through your smartphone.
With PhotoScan by Google open on the phone, user just needs to put a desired photo print on the surface and needs to hit capture after positioning the print into PhotoScan’s reference frame. The app then provides four reference points across the frame and a circle in the middle that user needs to position over the reference points one by one in square mode.
Once the four ref-points are scanned, the app quickly performs and finishes the job to convert the image into a high-quality digital one in just a few seconds. That too without letting worry about any glares that may have caused on the photos while snapping.
The idea is simple as you might think about something like how you take panorama photos of big landscapes – it’s pretty much like that. But unlike a big real landscape, you just pan around an old print on your table. Here’s how the app does the job.
- The app takes a single reference image when you tap on capture.
- It produces four reference points across each corner of the frame.
- Then it captures four separate images at each corner when you move/pan the camera around.
- The app works with its magic to stitch the four images and make one big/quality digital image.
Left: Standard Camera Shot, Right: Google PhotoScan
App has some additional features that you can rotate the final image, straighten the edges, crop the image even though the app does that all pretty well automatically. My first impression was really good with it specially a shot free of reflections is exclamatory. It indeed produces high-quality photos but it’s not high-resolution. Wonder they will improve it further.
Why not single shot is better than this?
If you ask how better it could be than a single photo you take of your prints. Simple answer would be to consider the image data from four different images than one shot. Usually when you take a picture of your old prints while pointing your camera towards the middle of the print, being too closer to the print, your image mostly ends up with reflections and distortion. Four images taking separately and combined together helps avoiding the reflections occurred by angle of view. I just tried to go in simple words, if you want some more technical detail then Google and MIT have been working on this kind of stuff for over a year now – seems like they have finally got it right.
Download Google PhotoScan App
You can just head over to Google Play store to download and install the app.